Here comes summer

Fire up the grill — or don’t.

Savor the season: Try these recipes as an alternative to the traditional summer hamburgers and hot dogs.

By Donna Zitter Bordelon

Although the calendar may say something different, summer in Philly officially begins on Memorial Day weekend. The hot days ahead may find you down the shore, watching a patriotic parade, or hanging out at a beer garden. Wherever you may roam, the smell of hot dogs and hamburgers cooking, the quintessential barbecue foods, will frequently be wafting in the air. Here are some alternatives to summer’s burgers and dogs.

SUMMER MARINADE

Wooden sticks/skewers

½ cup red wine (burgundy, merlot or a dry red)

½ cup oil

¼ cup soy sauce

1 tsp. ground ginger

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tbsp. ketchup

Dash of Worcestershire sauce

¼ tsp. pepper.

Combine all ingredients, whisking well. Set aside.

Meats and Vegetables:

2½–3 lbs. of beef, chicken or pork tenderloin (beef and chicken cut into 1-inch cubes, pork cut into ½-inch pieces)

2 or 3 onions, quartered

1 or 2 large green peppers, cut into pieces

1 eggplant (peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes) or 2 zucchini, cut into chunks

10–12 medium mushrooms

Pineapple, cut into 1-inch pieces, or canned chunks, optional

Put ¾ of the marinade and all the meat into a large (zip lock) plastic bag, and squeeze out the air, making sure to secure the bag tightly.

Place bag in a pan (in case of bag leakage) and allow to marinate overnight, or up to 24 hours. Turn bag frequently. Drain extra marinade and set aside.

Cut all vegetables and marinate in reserved marinade for a few hours before grilling.

When ready to grill: Thread meat cubes, placing onion and pepper on each side of meat pieces, alternating vegetables and meat on skewers.

If using pork, position them on the skewers so that they grill in the center (hottest part) of the grill.

Grill for 7 to 10 minutes on each side or until done.

Brush and baste skewers with any extra marinade while cooking.

APPLE CHIP DILLED FISH

2 lbs. swordfish, salmon or white fish filet

8 Tbsp. butter

Juice from 1 lemon

3–4 cloves garlic, minced

Fresh dill, a few sprigs or 2 tsp. dried

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Oil — to rub on the grill and fish basket

Handful of apple wood chips — soaked in water 20 minutes.

Chips can be purchased or chipped from a branch of a fruit tree. When the chips smoke, they impart added flavor.

When the grill is hot, wash and pat the filet dry.

Melt the butter, and add garlic, lemon and dill. Set aside.

Place the fish in an oiled, hinged fish basket. Or, make your own “basket” by placing two cake racks tied together so the fish can be held between them. Put basket/racks on the grill. Use tongs, a potholder and extra care when turning the fish.

Baste both sides of the fish well with butter mixture.

Place the fish on the grill, about 4 inches from the heat.

Cook until the fish turns from transparent to opaque, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. Turn once and baste often.

Salt and pepper to taste before removing.

Serves 4.

SHRIMP ON THE GRILL

Wooden sticks/skewers

2 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail on

¼ cup oil

¼ cup lime juice

4 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup honey

1 Tsp. soy sauce

3 Tsp. sriracha sauce

2 Tbsp. ketchup

Garnish: Chopped cilantro and lime slices

Whisk together the oil, lime juice, garlic, honey, soy sauce, sriracha sauce and ketchup in a large bowl. Toss shrimp in the marinade.

When ready to grill, thread shrimp onto skewers.

Heat grill or grill pan and grill shrimp until they are light pink and beginning to curl. (A few minutes per side.) Brush with the reserved marinade, turning the skewered shrimp and basting.

Don’t forget the marshmallows.

Eat well, live long, enjoy!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the Times, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002)

Don’t forget:

Send in your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $100 ShopRite gift card. Mail your recipe to Readers’ Recipes, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002. Or email your recipe to WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com. Please include name, address and telephone number.